Journaling is a tool that allows you to navigate the labyrinth of your mind. It is the torch that has given me direction. It is a meditation that allows for the articulation of thoughts and emotion. Clarity and focus are achieved when you work on and let go of the clutter of your mind.
I’ve kept a habitual journaling practice of a bit over a year now. Gone through four journals and a countless amount of blue, black and red pens. Articulating, visualising and transferring my thoughts has given me clarity and direction. Letting out my emotions onto this piece of paper is more than what any counsellor has given me. I have gained insight into myself, my thoughts, behaviours and actions.
This is what researchers call “writing to learn.” Bringing a sense of order and meaning to our experiences brings knowledge and discovery. Writing in a journal allows for a deeper exploration into ideas and their complexities. Whereas the brain, by itself, may neglect the minor details. Writing to learn has also shown to help with meta-cognitive thinking, which is the awareness of your thoughts. A useful skill for meditation and a potent antidote for an anxious mind.
I can ask my self if thoughts aligned with my goals? Awareness that lets me float downstream rather than struggle upstream.
Your journal belongs to you and no one else. Your pages don’t have to be uniformed to perfect handwriting. Journals are flexible mine include to-do lists, mind maps, sketches, gratitude and tracking my exercise progress. The journals of Thomas Edison and Leonardo da Vinci contained similar aspects.
Ben Franklin once intelligently said; “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”. Writing in your journal may not feel like you’re being productive with work or other responsibilities. But this investment into intellectual capital pays its dividend.
The working individual is told to work more, speed up, and do more the next day to get ahead. Where the majority walk in the same direction, I believe the modern intellectual should turn the other way: slow down, learn more, discover yourself and ponder universal complexities. Step away from your busy schedule and start your notebook.